Thursday, September 24, 2009

Learning and Yearning

Today I went to a class. I took more than 2 pages of notes, front and back. I'm not used to going to classes and taking notes, either.

Not that I don't love learning. I really really do. I want to go back to school so bad, I can SMELL it. Seriously. Today I smelled my alma mater on my daughter when she came home. Bandaids!

Anyway. This was a class wherein I learn to be an advocate for my special-needs daughter, who completely baffles me. I was brought to tears twice while I was there. There's just so much to learn, so much to do, and wow, am I overwhelmed on so many fronts.

I had left for class this morning, full of hope and determination and ideas and wanting to jot all sorts of things down that were popping into my head on the way there. I was pumped! But while I was there, I seemed to have so much less confidence and enthusiasm, so much less drive to ask the questions that I can't articulate.

Do I just not know the lingo? No. Am I a brand-new mom of this darling special girl? No, she's 8 years old. Am I new to the school, the district, or the state? No, it's been 5 years she's attended school here, in the district I grew up in.

I just want a silver bullet still. I want the book or class that tells me what kind of food I can cook that will nourish her mind enough to make her able to learn the same as everyone else. I want the medical diagnosis still that will tell me which organ failed her and how to revive or restore it. I want the cure, for me and for her. I want to know, not how to navigate the system of education for those who seem less able to learn, but how to navigate around all the existing systems, to the one that lifts us out of this mist of darkness.

And to be really honest, I have to admit that I was crying about losing my sons, who are making their own ways without much help from me. And I was crying about not being the other moms there, who I feel guilty for wishing to be.

One of them had a much needier child, the same age as mine, but they have plenty of money. That stay-at-home mom was as sharp as a person could be, and was a very willing and assertive advocate for her daughter.

The other one had a much younger child, with a concrete medical diagnosis, and she had a plan, and lots of services already in place. That stay-at-home mom was also very sharp, with a clear vision of what she wants to do, and apparently, the money to do it.

It wasn't just the money that I coveted, although that's a part of it. I was grieving. I still am.


Kazzy said...

I am so with ya on the sons leaving. I know you have a special situation with your one boy, but when they leave for whatever reason it hurts your heart. I am so sorry for that.

As far as the special needs... one thing you can do is to make sure your daughter is being tested/seen by every possible district specialist to see what services she qualifies for. It is free and it is right.

And don't worry about being more monied or assertive. You are a good mom and will find what you need to do to best serve your daughter. She is lucky to have you.

Best of luck, and keep your chin up. All will work together for good.

honeypiehorse said...

I once read a fantastic article by Jenna McCarthy about the struggles of having a special needs child and her determination to help him succeed. She has a lot of money and energy, of course, but most of it really comes down to her own work with her son. And her writing style was so funny and humane, her writing and interviews might be a useful resource for you.